Secret Water

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Secret Water
SecretWater.jpg
First edition
Author Arthur Ransome
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Swallows and Amazons
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date
1939
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
ISBN 978-1-56792-064-2 (David R. Godine, Publisher: paperback, 1996)
Preceded by We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea
Followed by The Big Six

Secret Water is the eighth book in Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series of children's books. It was published in 1939.

This book is set in and around Hamford Water in Essex, close to the resort town of Walton-on-the-Naze. It brings the Swallows and the Amazons together and introduces a new group of characters, the Eels and the Mastodon. Ransome used to sail to Hamford Water, an area of tidal salt marshes and low-lying islands, in his yacht Nancy Blackett. He set the book here to offer his characters new opportunities to explore and make maps in a different landscape.

Plot summary[edit]

The Swallows intend to sail in the Goblin to Hamford Water and camp with their father, but he is called away on naval business. Instead he maroons them with a small dinghy on an island. Before he leaves, Father gives them an outline map of the area they decide to call Secret Water and suggests they survey and chart the area before he returns to pick them up. For a surprise, he has arranged for the Amazons to come down from the Lake District and join them with another dinghy.

They see some mysterious footprints which turn out to belong to the Mastodon, a local boy. He mistakes them for the Eels, another family who camp in the area regularly. Later the Eels arrive and are initially hostile before they settle down for a friendly war.

It seems that due to the distractions of war and being cut off by the tides, the chart will not be completed. However early in the last morning two separate groups of children complete it.

See also[edit]

Beaumont Cut